Demolition traditions: Isozaki and Sakaguchi
journal contributionposted on 26.11.2021, 12:00 by Simon RichardsSimon Richards
If ever an architect bit the hand that fed, it was the young Arata Isozaki, a mercurial and uncompromising architectural talent who would go on to secure establishment respectability with the Pritzker Prize of 2019. But he made his renown with designs and exhibitions exploring themes of death and destruction, not least his 'Fractures' pavilion for the 1996 Venice Biennale, which sought to stage the aftermath of the Kobe earthquake from a year earlier, while also being a leading proponent of a playful, almost saccharine postmodernism, with projects including the Team Disney HQ of 1991. Immersed in the leading currents of Japanese architecture from the 1960s onwards, his tendency to snipe at the motives of his collaborators was legendary. Commentators have tried to account for these professional shifts and antagonisms, his dour and contrarian thematic obsessions, as well as his critiques of architectural traditionalism and technological progressivism. Why did he conduct his professional life and art this way? The conclusion seems to be that he was a nihilistic maverick pushing at the outer limits of architectural culture and even taste.
- Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering